we need to talk about your everyday beer [soapbox sunday]
Yes I have a calendar. No it isn’t Sunday. But this soapbox can’t wait.
We have all heard a variation on this phrase: “Sometimes I just want a beer, you know?”
What an odd (yet ubiquitous) statement. It is especially confusing when I’m standing in a store full of beer when I overhear it. “Oh, you just want a beer?” I think to myself. “Okay. Here’s one.”
I have to assume that it means something different to everyone and depends on the setting: I just want [not a fancy cocktail], I just want [to not think about what I’m drinking], I just want [to be drunk already], I just want [cheap, shitty beer made with corn or, even better, rice].
Well, unless the real message happens to be “I just want to play beer pong,” I think this line of thinking is pretty poor.
This is like standing at the local butcher counter browsing hand-made sausages, free range pork tenderloin, a rack of lamb, some foie gras, and several types of steak and saying “I just want a hot dog.” And I don’t mean the butcher’s cheapest brat, I mean Oscar Meyer garbage.
So what beer falls between god-knows-what-parts-were-used-inside-a-casing and a T-bone? Actually, several.
If “I just want a beer” means “I want cheap”, then try this alternative — buy beer by the 12-pack or case. For Minnesotans, try picking up a case of Summit EPA. The price goes down due to the quantity, just like the bulk foods aisle. In fact, Summit EPA can easily be found for less than a dollar a bottle. Is it going to be as cheap as Coors? No. But the upgrade is like choosing to put A/C in your new car – you shouldn’t even think twice. In fact, it should be standard.
When the “just a beer” means an easy-drinking, low alcohol beer, typically enjoyed by a wide range of family members, including non-beeries, try a summer beer or something labeled “session”. Here is a great article about the best summer seasonals available right now, many of which fall into the “easy drinking” arena. Or check out some of my “cabin beer“.
One everyday beer that I have come to enjoy is the Pub Ale by Tallgrass Brewing. Best known for their Buffalo Sweat – definitely not in the “I just want a beer” category – Tallgrass has a wide repertoire and is available in many states.
The Pub Ale is a multitasker, making a great pairing both for heavy pub fare and fancy amuse bouche. The mild caramel is not overwhelmingly sweet, but placates the majority of taste buds. It is darker and slightly less hoppy than a bitter and it fits somewhere between a traditional English brown and a mild.
In the past, even I have made statements such as “Sure, Budweiser has its place”, or “there is nothing wrong with the occasional Miller Lite.” But I am going to boldly assert that if you are a beer connoisseur, this isn’t really true. The place for macros like Bud, Miller, or Coors, is not in your fridge.